I remember when I lived in England, I was daily shocked by the lack of hygiene of the English. It is not that they lack hygiene, it is that they have no sense of hygiene. A subtle difference but important, nonetheless.
Of course, this shock was exacerbated when some stinking English who would bathe once a week - which consisted basically of filling the bathtub and soaking in his/her own muck, without rinsing, may I add - would call me a "dirty Arab.".
That happened on more than one occasion - being called a "dirty Arab." It happened in England and it happened in France.
Curiously, the English and the French, I find to be the most dirty Westerners around.
Dirty not necessarily as in race epithets but dirty as in hygiene. Mind you they do go together...
Overall, Westerners, and that includes Americans, and with particular reference to these two categories of English and French, their levels of personal hygiene leaves a lot to be desired...
How do I know ? I notice things. Little things that tell me about bigger things.
I will make a list, hoping am not being too offensive in doing so.
Did I say offensive ? moi ? never !
Call it payback time or just simple truths...
The first thing I noticed is that overall, the men and women don't wash their hands after the loo - when they leave the toilet. I saw that happen too many times and that really grossed me out.
I also shared lodgings with English girls, and trust me I saw worse...
Sorry to be so blunt, but toilet paper is not enough with the big thing. You actually need to wash your butts and not wait till the next shower...if it ever takes place.
Secondly, when the boyfriend is around for the weekend, a shower before and after is highly recommended. Dusting Johnson Baby powder leads to cottage cheese and not to hygiene...
Okay, that is being very blunt, but since you have allowed yourself to call me a "dirty Arab", let me give it to you the way it is...so be a sport and take it well - I only harbour the best of intentions towards you -- really.
Furthermore, filling a sink or a bathtub is not what I consider washing. Running water has its virtues and soaking in your own shit is not one of them.
Moreover, kissing your pets on the mouth, and this is a very current phenomena in the West, kissing your dog on the mouth makes anyone with an iota of sanity, not want to kiss you ever...not on the cheeks let alone on the mouth. Love your dogs as much as you want but do you really have to French kiss them ?
Another thing, shoes.
When I walk into my dwellings, the first thing I do is, take off my shoes and wash my hands. I suggest you do the same. Your streets are full of dog poop...just in case you have not noticed.
And why do you have to stretch your legs with your shoes one on the bed and the couch ? Take off those shoes and do change your underwear and socks daily. Oh, and your clothes do stink of staleness combined with a smell of moth balls...So do wash your clothes - sweaters, trousers, shirts,...regularly.
You have running water and you have soap - no excuses here.
As for the French, maybe Carla Bruni and her monster of a husband Sarkozy better start giving their "populace" some basic lessons in hygiene.
A study showed that only 1 or 2 out of 7 French persons brush their teeth daily.
And only 1 in 7 showers daily.
That is enough to give French kissing a bad reputation, a public health hazard, a no-go zone.
Another thing that is most noticeable and here the Arabic proverb comes in real handy - the proverb says " min barra halla halla, min juwa, ye'lam Allah..."
Meaning - from the outside he/she looks so good, and from the inside only God knows...
This proverb can be applied to many circumstances but it is particularly pertinent when it comes to personal hygiene.
How many a times do you see someone well dressed, perfect hairdo, make up and dabbed with the best perfumes only to find out that they hardly ever wash!
This is a bad habit, a left over from the days of some rotten Louis XVI. The French did not use water then, they used perfume instead. Maybe that Arabic proverb dates back from the time of the Ifrange - the French.
Alas, a lot of the French have kept this bad habit since...transmuted into Johnson Baby Powder when it reached the Anglo Saxons...
So the recommendations from this "dirty Arab" is let the cleanliness and good smell emanate from the inside out...in other words, no amount of cover up with perfumes, designers clothes and good make up will do the trick.
Last but not least in this chapter - towels and cloths.
I noticed that for example in England and France they use the same cloth to wipe ashtrays, tables, counters...and at home the same cloth is used for the kitchen, the toilet seat, the sink and the bathtub... This is a no-no.
Just like you have division of labour, you need to have a division of cloths. A cloth for each purpose. You cannot wipe your kitchen counter with your toilet seat cloth. This is totally outrageous.
The same principle applies to towels. How many times I witnessed the same towel used for so many things. The same towel to wipe your feet, butt and face. Again, this is not on. You need a towel for your face and hands and a towel for the rest of your body. Of course, assuming that you do have that regular wash.
I guess I will stop here for tonight. I have not exhausted the subject, but just given you headlines, some sort of short introduction into personal hygiene. Hope it will come useful next time you call any other race "dirty".
With my best regards,
Your "dirty Arab".